I entered upon my duties as chaplain of Hardaway's Battalion of Artillery, November, 1863. (At that time it was known as the First Regiment, Virginia Artillery, commanded by Colonel J. T. Brown. Soon after my becoming its chaplain, it was reduced in size to four companies, and Colonel R. A. Hardaway ordered to take command.) If my recollection serves me rightly, the four companies (Rockbridge, Captain Graham; Roanoke, Captain Griffin; Powhatan, Captain Dance; Third Howitzer, Captain Smith) did not exceed, all told, five hundred men. Out of these five hundred, nearly two hundred were church-members at the close of the war. I know, certainly, that Rockbridge Battalion had 57; Roanoke Battalion, 37; Powhatan Battalion, 42,=136, to which add 40 for the fourth (I have lost the list), and make 176, or about one-third of the whole. During the eighteen months of my stay among them, exactly forty were added to the Church. (This number is a part of the 176 above.) The great revival of 1863 was shared by our battalion, and its fruits reaped not long before I joined it. Those who professed conversion at that time fell under my care and, as far as I know, with but a single exception, kept the faith firm unto the end. And of this exception I must say that, although he fell once by intemperance, yet he deeply repented, confessed his sins, and finally died from wounds, rejoicing in hope. There was no revival in our battalion, in the commonly received sense of the term, during my connection with it, nor do I recollect any incidents of remarkable conversion. Some were converted who did not connect themselves with any Church, not even the “ Camp;” e.g., Lieutenant-Colonel David Watson, for a long time Captain Second Howitzers (Richmond), and lieutenant-colonel of our battalion when killed at Spottsylvania. His life had been irreproachable for a long time, but we did not know, not even his most intimate friends, that he had any hope until on his deathbed he said to his mother, “I have long since taken Christ as my salvation.” E—— M——did not connect himself with any Church until his return home. Not a few, I think, held back fearing that their change of views and life were due to the hardships and perils to which they were daily exposed, and might not prove genuine after a return to the luxuries of civil life. It was my habit to preach twice a week anyhow, unless prevented by insuperable obstacles, and often I preached four or five times. When our battalion was covering a front of a mile and a half, in the trenches around Richmond (winter of 1864-65), I had religious services in each company separately once a week. Only when in winter-quarters at Frederick Hall (1863-64) did I conduct a Bible-class with my own hand, but there were such in the several companies conducted by some of themselves, and I was told they were at times well attended and interesting. Moreover, the men had prayer-meetings among themselves every week, winter and summer, in separate companies. I would sometimes attend these as a listener. I cannot estimate the number of tracts I distributed; one of our men (J. K. Hitner, Rockbridge Battery) always kept them on hand; so did I. One winter I had a library of books, which I gathered from different places, mostly religious; it comprised about fifty volumes. Upwards of one hundred religious papers were received a week; perhaps one hundred and fifty. Colonel J. T. Brown (our colonel until January, 1864,) was a sincerely pious member of the Episcopal Church; Colonel R. A. Hardaway, of the Methodist; Captains Smith and Dance, Lieutenants Blair, Read, Cunningham, Bagby, were active Christians. The gallant Colonel R. M. Stribbling experienced a change of heart, I hope, while major of our battalion; soon after he left us to take command of General Dearring's old battalion, he made a public profession of religion. Our officers, without a single exception, upheld my hands in every way possible. Our quarter-master (Captain Christian) used to lend me his wagons to haul logs to build our chapels. We built one each winter of my connection with the battalion. Having come out to extreme south-western Virginia, soon after close of the war, I
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Chapter 1 : religious elements in the army.
Chapter 2 : influence of Christian officers.
Chapter 3 : influence of Christian officers—continued.
Chapter 4 : influence of Christian officers—concluded.
Chapter 5 : Bible and colportage work.
Chapter 6 : hospital work.
Chapter 7 : work of the chaplains and missionaries.
Chapter 8 : eagerness of the soldiers to hear the Gospel .
Chapter 9 : State of religion in 1861 - 62 .
Chapter 10 : revivals in the Lower Valley and around Fredericksburg .
Chapter 11 : the great revival along the Rapidan .
Chapter 12 : progress of the work in 1864 - 65 .
Chapter 13 : results of the work and proofs of its genuineness
Appendix: letters from our army workers.
Appendix no. 2 : the work of grace in other armies of the Confederacy .
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